Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do Over

It has been an unusual and tragic couple of days. We found out that one of our friends here lost her husband on the Air France Flight from Rio to Paris. Brad was a top executive for Coca-Cola and his wife, Anne, is a part of my Ladies Dinner Group of 6 from the Women's Club. In fact just a few weeks ago we went to dinner at Chez Leon for mussels and frites (a Belgian specialty, you know - "mussels in Brussels"). Mom joined us and was taken with Anne and her family's incredible story. They had been European expats for 14 years and just moved to their latest assignment in Brussels this past January. They also lived in South Africa, Istanbul, Vienna and London. Anne and Brad have two college-age sons and they are (were?) probably one of the kindest, happiest, most engaging couples I have known.

Brad was a Canadian in charge of the Global Coca-Cola division, specifically overseeing all of the 'water' operations. My friendship with Anne is a particularly ironic one since Kirk audits Coke. Just a few months ago I was at their gorgeous home where Brad made it a point to be there to pour wine for the ladies and to take our photos. He was interesting, interested, and just easy to be around.

We are just heartsick. I mean what do you do, what do you say, and how can anything make this any better? Someone told me last night this was the first plane to go down in the Atlantic since the 1940s. The scant details and abundant questions about what happened just confound the entire tragedy. Brad was a good man who clearly adored his wife and family as well as the job that helped them see the world.

It is so strange because Anne was just telling us about a particularly special weekend they spent in Champagne, France and of their upcoming adventure to Hong Kong. I think the only drop of peace in the flood of hurt and grief must be that they spent so much time together and experienced the world. It makes me all the more grateful for Kirk and that we too said 'yes' to this opportunity to be here together, strengthening our marriage and our family unit. Life is just too short.

So in the midst of all of this and trying to find a way to provide comfort and love to Anne and her family the following has happened at our house:
1) I downloaded a computer virus by mistake and it is requiring a total "clean" of our computer.
2) Kirk accidentally deleted all the camera photos from the past weekend in Paris.
3) I burned the pumpkin bread I made this morning to take to Anne. I burned it black.And the updates on the 3 items above are:
1) Kirk is using the virus as an excuse to work on backing up all on the computer and to tighten virus software. We don't think anything terrible happened - just annoying.
2) Kirk found a program that allows you to put in the "blank" camera memory card and it retrieves your photos for $40. A big pain to have to pay to get photos back, but MAN what can't technology do these days?!?! We are happy to have our photo memories returned.
3) I had just enough extra ingredients and time to whip up another batch of pumpkin bread before taking it over. I had to half the recipe, but who cares?

And so here is the moral to this long story... My favorite lesson my mother-in-law has taught me is that things that can be fixed with money and time are not worth fretting too much about. Not to say money isn't important - or time even. She is frugal, as are we. Just to say that life is too short to worry too much about the things you can't control but can be fixed. I was able to have a "do over" with the computer virus, the deleted photos, and the pumpkin bread. The real tragedies are those that cannot be fixed with a do over.

It certainly makes me hold and hug my loved ones tighter than ever.
Click here for an article on Brad, the only Canadian aboard the Air France flight.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Oh, Reid, I'm so sorry for your friend's loss, and your loss, too. It makes the tragedy all the more real knowing someone associated with it. Thanks for the great reminders to keep it simple and relish the time that you have with your loved ones.